Big East spring game recaps

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
9:00
AM ET
And then there were four.

Four more Big East teams held their spring games this past weekend, putting a wrap on six spring seasons in the conference. UConn, Rutgers, SMU and Temple are still going, with all but Rutgers holding their spring games this Saturday. (The Scarlet Knights will hold theirs April 27.)

Here's a look at the action from this past weekend.

HOUSTON
David Piland looked like he took the next step under center for the Cougars on Friday night, completing 14 of 21 passes for 141 yards at Carl Lewis Field. The junior signal-caller tossed touchdown passes to four different receivers. Casey Martin (seven catches for 56 yards) and Deontay Greenberry (five for 76) led the receiving corps, which should only improve when Markeith Ambles enters the fold this summer.

All five quarterbacks saw action Friday night, and though Piland has made a convincing argument that he will be the guy to lead the Cougars again in 2013, the competition will only become more intense come fall camp, as the program welcomes in two freshmen and junior-college transfer Billy Cosh.

LOUISVILLE
Surprise, surprise: Teddy Bridgewater dazzled against the Cardinals' second-team defense, completing 16 of 20 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns in a performance before roughly 33,000 Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Bridgewater was one of a number of starters to put up big numbers in a contest that saw the first-team offense face the second-team defense, and vice versa.

Dominique Brown continued to seize the opportunity at first-team running back, going for 79 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries. DeVante Parker caught four passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, one of four straight scores from the first-team offense late in the first half.

The first-team defense pitched a shutout and did not allow a first down until the second-team offense's fifth series, one of just three that that offensive unit was able to generate all day. Dominique Dishman had three sacks and was one of six different Cardinals to record a sack in the first quarter alone.

Another "surprising" note from Saturday? Bridgewater was far from satisfied with his performance, telling reporters that he would give himself a "C."

Harsh? Surely. It will be hard to figure out just how good Louisville can be going into a 2013 season that will likely begin with the program ranked in the top 10 and favored in each of its games. But seeing the offense's performance Saturday and the depth it has been able to develop among its receivers and tight ends this spring is a very encouraging start.

UCF
Blake Bortles and the Knights' passing game were the big winners in Saturday's contest at Bright House Networks Stadium, which pitted the first-team offense against the second- and third-team defenses, and vice versa.

Bortles completed 18 of 24 passes for 276 yards with two scores and at one point connected on 10 straight throws. Tyler Gabbert went 13-for-21 for 174 yards but threw a costly interception in the end zone, with Michael Easton returning the ball 59 yards.

J.J. Warton (eight catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns) and Jeff Godfrey (7 for 107, 3 TDs) were the favorite targets for UCF.

The green linebackers and defensive backs were often put to the test, with coach George O'Leary telling reporters afterward that communication improvement is needed in coverage. Linemen Thomas Niles and Deion Green had three sacks apiece for a defense that finished the day with 12.

USF
The Matt Floyd-Bobby Eveld debate offered multiple pros and cons for both sides Saturday before 4,606 fans at Raymond James Stadium, where Floyd's White team escaped as 14-11 winners in a game that featured the most elaborate team selection process ever.

Floyd completed 9 of 16 passes for 208 yards and two scores, but fumbled four snaps, three of which resulted in turnovers. Eveld, who had the slight edge this spring, went 14-for-24 for 143 yards with no touchdown passes and one pick.

It will help that whichever signal-caller ends up starting this season will get the chance to toss to Andre Davis, who led the way with three catches for 90 yards and two scores, both of which came from Floyd. Eveld himself got in on the rushing and receiving action, punching it in from 1-yard out to close the game after hauling in a 10-yard pass from Ryan Eppes earlier.

The squads combined for just 31 total yards rushing, and they also had 13 penalties in all.

Reshard Cliett had the only interception of the game.

Matt Fortuna | email

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